Athletes clear the hurdles during the 100 meter hurdles during the Musco Twilight event at Francis X. Cretzmeyer Track on Saturday, April 23, 2016. The Musco Twilight brings in track and field athletes from all over Iowa to compete for Iowa City fans. (The Daily Iowan/Anthony Vazquez)

Tracksters face a challenge at dusk

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By Carter Melrose

carter-melrose@uiowa.edu

The Hawkeye track and field team will finally make a homecoming this weekend when it hosts the annual Musco Twilight on April 22 starting at noon.

The meet will not only pit the Hawkeyes versus the rest of the state (Northern Iowa, Iowa State, and Drake) but also the likes of Creighton and Western Illinois, to name a few.

This is not an ordinary meet. For many Iowa tracksters, this will be a make or break meet for them because both the Drake Relays and championship week are fast approaching. Those who don’t have a time worthy for those meets won’t attend.

“This is one of the last chances some our athletes will be able to make the Big Ten Championships travel roster,” Woody said. “We can only travel 34, so there are a lot of people on the bubble.”

One of these bubble athletes is senior Aaron Mallett, not because of a lack of talent but because of a lack of actual race finishes.

“Aaron Mallett was rolling on the high hurdles in Mt. SAC but tripped over the last hurdle,” Woody said. “He has got to get a time so he [can] get himself ready for Drake and the Big Ten Championships.”

This is the same athlete who struck fear in the eyes of most Big Ten observers during the not-so-long-gone indoor season. Mallett won back-to-back Big Ten titles in the 60-meter hurdles, yet he still faces elimination in the looming shadow of the Drake Relays quickly approaching. In Mallett’s beloved event, the 110-meter hurdles, April 22 will decide whether his career will have a premature ending or will live on for a few more weeks.

Another concern with the Drake Relays on the horizon is stitching together a great set of relays that the school can hang its hat on.

“When you go to the Drake Relays, there are not a lot of open events, but there are relays,” Woody said. “We really want to establish ourselves as a great relay school, so I’m really looking forward to both 4x1s.”

The Hawkeyes currently have six Big Ten leaders, and three of those six leading times are in relays: the men’s 4×400-meter relay and the men’s and women’s 4×100-meter relay.

The men’s 4×100 relay consists of freshman Emmanuel Ogwo, sophomore Mar’yea Harris, freshman Collin Hofacker, and junior Carter Lilly, who lead the Big Ten with a time of 39.49. They will attempt to hold onto this lead on April 22.

The women’s 4×100 relay involves sophomores Taylor Chapman and Briana Guillory, senior Alexis Hernandez, and junior Brittany Brown.

If this team wants to be a high-octane, relay-oriented squad, it must finish strong at Musco on its home turf.

The Drake Relays will commence on April 26 and conclude on April 29.

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